Give Your School a Technology Boost!

 From implementing mobile learning strategies to adopting stringent e-security measures to assure the safety of their online audience, more and more schools are supporting comprehensive solutions to ensure that all avenues are covered when making available learning facilities on-line.

Teachers, as well as students, are looking towards technology more and more with a view to streamlining their educational efficiencies. Tablets and mobile devices feature predominantly in many further educational institutions in today’s society as teachers prepare learning collateral away from the classroom (on-line via e-learning platforms), and students are able to regularly access on-line portals through which they can both complete course work and also engage with teaching staff. Ubiquitous Wi-Fi solutions are able to provide access anywhere, anytime almost instantaneously and have been proven to deliver new ways of learning and increase productivity both in and out of the classroom environment.

Just some of the benefits of implementing a wireless infrastructure within your educational environment can include:

-          Increased independent learning

-          Increased student motivation

-          Improved teacher capacity to plan and implement learning programmes

-          Extended student learning and improved parental engagement

Whilst the benefits of providing an on-line learning facility can deliver positive results and increase engagement between your teaching faculty and students we must also consider the safety aspects when allowing access to our networks.

Managing visitors within an online environment can be a daunting prospect, especially when we consider the threats that unsolicited visitors can pose if they manage to access a secure network and associated infrastructure. We must also be aware of outgoing security considerations such as the content our students may have access to whilst online.
As the availability of multi-channel access becomes the ‘norm’; one channel for parents, one for teachers, one for students etc. we need to be able to implement an online security feature that can ensure all avenues are covered, across all channels. Considerations such as these can be easily addressed, via a SonicWALL device that will fit within your existing network and provide sufficient safeguards when protecting your online environment.

Securing your systems whilst not compromising on network performance is key, and there exist, via a SonicWALL, a variety of measures that you are able to put in place; protecting vulnerable users, monitoring browsing habits and application traffic analysis…

So here is another element that we need to factor into managing our online environment, supporting the large number of applications that you are likely to use within an education based platform.

We all log into our local network without a thought for the countless other users that are likely to be doing exactly that at the very same time as you. Factor into that the numerous applications that each administrator, teacher and of course student are likely to run from each of their devices and all of a sudden your network is running at capacity. But, consider ‘trafficking’ your users to ensure that a. essential tasks can still be completed but b. your network is able to operate efficiently. Possibly leave essential tasks such as bulk emails to parents or the monthly newsletter to PTA members until the network is going to be at its quietest; lunch or break time? By adapting working practices according to the volume of online traffic the SonicWALL can assist with task management, allowing your staff to concentrate on other critical activities.

Don’t be forgiven for thinking that policing our on-line environment can be a little like ‘big brother’. Consider the alternatives… The need to control access is a minor consideration, compared to the penalties that have been handed down to establishments whose loopholes have made them easy targets and resulted in misuse by users entering their network and breaching legal protocol.

So when we think SonicWALL, primarily it is of a security device, but in reality its many functions can provide invaluable data for marketing and/or communications activities essential to the activities of your institution.

So when we do consider both presenting and accessing educational sources online, there are more than just the provision and screening of online activities to consider.

The biggest consideration has to be whom you shall enlist to develop your network and infrastructure. Implementing a Wi-Fi network isn’t just installing a router and away you go… You need to consider the wider environment to whom you want to be able to readily access your network. Consider; how many access points you may need; how many users you may have online at any one point; to whom you want to provide access to your network and from where.

An industry expert with an established reputation of implementing ubiquitous Wi-Fi solutions who partners with market leaders such as Dell, Ubiquiti and Microsoft should be to whom you turn when you consider developing your network. A communications specialist will work with you to identify, build and execute a comprehensive solution that can satisfy all of your online education and communication needs.

Many of the systems that are available in today’s ever changing world of technology and communications are widely available, though when we drill down to the exact requirements of an effective system that can not only; support learning platforms, satisfy our security concerns accommodate multi users at any one time (whilst not compromising on quality of connection speed) be cost effective and be supported by technical specialists, we do need to think about the added value that can be provided via a comprehensive package.

Consistency of connection across a network within an educational environment is a necessity. So many of the learning aids that are present in the classroom today require internet connectivity; smart boards, tablets, PC’s. Consistency of service will provide consistency of learning, when utilising such devices.

Business grade Wi-Fi is the correct product when thinking about larger institutions; schools, colleges, university campus etc. Consumer grade Wi-Fi simply won’t be able to support the high number of visitors that you are likely to have engage with your network, and this will affect the speed at which your network will operate, causing bottlenecking and application failure.

So whilst we may have only just scratched the surface here when thinking about our networks, how we support, protect and make available to our chosen audience, we have certainly highlighted some of the key areas that must be addressed to ensure that any online provision both performs and supports our online learning strategy.

Gone are the days of chalk and white boards. Wi-Fi is here, and is here to stay. The devices being used in classrooms today are technically evolving. To ensure that you are not only able to keep up with the ever changing technological trends and embrace new learning practices, you first need to have in place a reliable Wi-Fi solution.

The question is, do you…?

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